When I bought Camille earlier in the year, I made some immediate decisions about what to put on her for protection. The BMW GSs have a large number of offerings in this department, with protection made by BMW, as well as a number of other companies. My company of choice--AltRider.
Picking out my brand new bike, I had to start making the decision about what pieces I wanted to put on, and which company's offerings would suit not only my riding needs, but my installation capabilities. On Thumper, I have parts from many different companies--a veritable hodge-podge of protection. Some pieces I installed myself, and some pieces really required help from Josh. Some of the pieces came with instructions (YAY!) and some came with none. (BOO!)
After doing a fair amount of research on products, including reading reviews and and even interrogating--I mean, interviewing--some friends, I decided to start with just a couple of pieces to get me started. They would be an AltRider Skid Plate (black), and AltRider Lower Crash Bars (silver). As I installed those pieces, I took a quick couple of pics and wrote a blog post about it. (March 20, 2016)
The blog post went something like this: These pieces are awesome and they were SOOO easy to install!!
Okay, I wrote a bit more than that, but that is the basic gist of it. Now, after finishing up a season of riding here in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, I started looking ahead to next year's riding season, and our nine month trip through Mexico, Central America, and South America. I'm looking to give myself the best possible opportunity to have my bike stay intact and rideable, no matter what kind of terrain and weather I put it through.
I put those original pieces through some rocky hell this summer--riding over big loose rocks getting tossed into my bash plate, dropping the bike in a nasty baby-head filled ravine, and even having my bike slam to the ground on concrete when I put my toe down to stop in an oil slick, and that foot slipped right out from under me.
Those pieces, other than having a few (ok, a lot) of dead bug bodies and some scratches, still look pristine, and my bike is in perfect condition--not a single scratch on those pretty plastics. All of the pieces are made here in the USA, and they're made completely of shot peen stainless steel. They don't rust, which is so awesome. The crash bars on my 650 have loads of scratches from our rocky terrain, and every scratch shows rust. I love, love, love that the AltRider ones don't.
|All that and stickers too!|
So, I ordered a few more pieces, and when the box showed up, it was like Christmas for Camille! I ordered the matching Upper Crash Bars (silver), the Lexan Headlight Guard, an Exhaust Guard (black), a Rear Brake Master Cylinder Guard (black), and an Exhaust Heat Shield (silver). Seriously, Christmas!!
|Each AltRider part comes with complete install instructions. Most even have pictures for visual learners like myself. Beer, however is not included.|
One night after work, I headed to the garage, beer in hand, and got to work. I installed the crash bars, exhaust guard, and exhaust heat shield. Just like the pieces I installed earlier in the year, each of the pieces had super clear, easy instructions. AltRider even threw in a small bottle of Locktite, so I didn't have to worry about whether I had any in my garage. (Which I didn't...yay, AltRider!) Within an hour I was done. That includes having to do the heat shield twice, since I installed it upside down the first time...yay, beer! Josh did help me install the upper crash bars, since four hands were really useful in that process. But, the install instructions that come with them give good tips for how to do it by one's self also.
|Re-sealable bottle of Locktite. Yes! I didn't have to make a special trip out to buy any.|
|Heat-proof foam strips keep the shield from scratching my muffler, and my luggage from melting. Win-win!|
|A screwdriver does work, but why not use a little battery operated power? The drill made quick work of a tedious job!|
|Uh...yep. That happened. Thankfully, I noticed almost immediately and could right it before anyone knew. Sssshhhhh...don't tell anyone!|
Honestly, I love how badass my bike looks. I love that it took very little time to install these pieces. And, I really love that they are American made. I know my bike isn't, but considering the financial investment I made in the bike itself, I feel good protecting her with such great quality.
|Here she is with that badass, burly upper crash bar installed. I love it!|
Stay tuned for the next post which talks about the headlight guard. It's "virtually unbreakable" and looks awesome!
Keywords: BMW, F700GS, 700GS, 800GS, R1200GS, 1200GS, AltRider, engine guards, crash guards, fall protection, off-road, trail, overland, farkling